Career Development

Steps and Components of the Communication Process

May 11, 2021

The majority of people communicate many times in a given day. This is especially apparent in the workplace. In order to effectively communicate with others, it's important to understand how the communication process works.

In this article, we will define the communication process, its components and how the process works overall.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

What is the communication process?

The communication process refers to a series of actions or steps taken in order to successfully communicate. It involves several components such as the sender of the communication, the actual message being sent, the encoding of the message, the receiver and the decoding of the message. There are also various channels of communication to consider within the communication process. This refers to the way a message is sent. This can be through various mediums such as voice, audio, video, writing email, fax or body language. The overall goal of the communication process is to present an individual or party with information and have them understand it. The sender must choose the most appropriate medium in order for the communication process to have worked successfully.

Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Examples)

Parts of the communication process

The communication process has several components that enable the transmission of a message. Here are the various parts:

  1. Sender: This is the person that is delivering a message to a recipient.
  2. Message: This refers to the information that the sender is relaying to the receiver.
  3. Channel of communication: This is the transmission or method of delivering the message.
  4. Decoding: This is the interpretation of the message. Decoding is performed by the receiver.
  5. Receiver: The receiver is the person who is getting or receiving the message.
  6. Feedback: In some instances, the receiver might have feedback or a response for the sender. This starts an interaction.

Related: The Components of Effective Workplace Communication

How does the communication process work?

In order to successfully communicate, it's important to understand how the process works. Here are the seven steps in the communication process:

  1. The sender develops an idea to be sent.
  2. The sender encodes the message.
  3. The sender selects the channel of communication that will be used.
  4. The message travels over the channel of communication.
  5. The message is received by the receiver.
  6. The receiver decodes the message.
  7. The receiver provides feedback, if applicable.

1. The sender develops an idea to be sent

The beginning of the communication process involves the sender creating an idea that they plan to send to another person or group of people. Essentially, they're planning the overall subject matter or information they want to transmit.

2. The sender encodes the message

Once the sender develops an idea, they translate it into a form that can be transmitted to someone else. This means they transform the thoughts of the information they want to send into a certain format. For example, if you are writing a letter, you'll translate your idea into words. The message can also be nonverbal, oral or symbolic.

3. The sender selects the channel of communication that will be used

Next, the sender decides how the message will be sent. This involves selecting the most suitable medium for the message they're relaying. Some communication mediums include speaking, writing, electronic transmission or nonverbal communication. If you're communicating at work, make sure to select the proper and most professional channel of communication.

4. The message travels over the channel of communication

After the medium is chosen, the message then begins the process of transmission. The exact process of this will depend on the selected medium. In order for the message to be properly sent, the sender should have selected the appropriate medium.

5. The message is received by the receiver

Next, the message is received by the recipient. This step in the communication process is done by hearing the message, seeing it, feeling it or another form of reception.

6. The receiver decodes the message

The receiver then decodes the sender's message. In other words, they interpret it and convert it into a thought. After they've done this, they analyze the message and attempt to understand it. The communication process is performed effectively when the sender and receiver have the same meaning for the transmitted message.

7. The receiver provides feedback, if applicable

Lastly, unless it's a one-way communication, the receiver will provide feedback in the form of a reply to the original sender of the message. Feedback provides the recipient with the ability to ensure the sender that their message was properly received and interpreted. Between two people, this is two-way communication.

Tips for improving the communication process

Here are some tips to consider to improve your communication skills and the communication process overall:

  • Simplify your message: In order to ensure your message is properly understood, you should keep your language simple and to the point.

  • Know your audience: It's also important to consider the audience that will receive your message as well as their needs and interests.

  • Be a good listener: As a communicator, it's important to actively listen to what those around you are saying. This will ensure that you're sending the right message.

  • Ask questions: It's also important to ask good questions to keep the communication flowing. Make sure your questions are insightful and engaging.

  • Take the time to respond: When communicating, it's important to consider how you might reply to a person to ensure you know what you want to say.

  • Consider your body language: If you're communicating through a different medium, it's important to be mindful of your body language. In addition, be aware of the body language of the person you're communicating with, as well.

  • Maintain eye contact: It's also important to make contact with the person or group you're communicating with. This will show that you're actively listening to who you're communicating with.

  • Clarify your message if needed: If the recipient of your message is unclear about what you're trying to say, it's important to clarify your message. This will help them to better understand you.

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